Okay, so, Cyrus the Great. He's straight up the actual messiah prophesied in Isaiah (DESPITE WHAT THE CHRISTIANS SAY).
(In so much as any prophecy is true, instead of being just total nonsense that hobos say, which is definitely where I stand, at all times, about any prophecies ever).
Anyway, Cyrus, right? He was the emperor of Persia that rescued Jerusalem from the Babylonians, or whatever. And in this story, Daniel (God's current number one guy) is hanging out with this dude, and Cyrus is all "How come you don't worship Bel, our god, like all of us do? You see this sweet statue of him? It's friggin' awesome!"
Daniel is super smug about all this, but he basically says "Ha ha, you idiots, that's just a statue, wait until you see my real God here, real soon!"
The gag is that every night, the priests of Bel set a shit load of sheep and wine in front of this idol, and it's magically gone the next day. Cyrus is convinced the statue eats and drinks all of the offerings it gets every night. But because Daniel isn't a complete moron, he realizes the priests who are in charge of manipulating this idiot probably take all of the offerings for themselves every night, to, I don't know, feed their families or whatever. This guy is dumb enough to believe anything, so they just go with it.
Cyrus and Daniel make a bet about all this: If Daniel can prove this religion is bullshit, all the 70 or so priests of Bel will be murdered, along with their entire families. If not, only Daniel gets killed.
I hate the fact that Daniel wins here, and therefore a bunch of innocent children are butchered, but the Bible's gotta Bible, people.
Daniel sprinkles sand all over the floor, so everyone who was secretly eating the sheep and drinking the wine get caught, because no one realized it was a sting operation. (Fucking Bible times, man.)
Extensive murder times ensue.
Not long after all those kids were murdered for their parents deceiving the king and stuff, there's this DRAGON. A dragon who loves CAKES. And I'm pretty sure that there is no version of reality that doesn't find this delightful. Think about it. A dragon who loves cakes. You can't help it, it makes you smile just like all of us. I wish I had a pet dragon who loved cakes, it would be amazing. You want one too, now that I put the idea in your head.
ANYWAY! Cyrus is all "Hey Daniel! I know you proved that last god was a bunch of bullshit, but this stuff right here? Straight up dragon, my dude! Prove this isn't worthy of worship, is all I'm saying!"
(Editorial note: If I found out there was a real life dragon who loved cakes, and that's all he or she wanted in this life? I would absolutely devote myself to him/her. A cake loving dragon is majestic as fuck, and I don't care who says otherwise.)
Unfortunately, that love of cakes is about to backfire on this dragon (who, at least in Medieval artwork, turns out to not be that impressive, because it's about cat sized, which is also ADORABLE, and I WANT ONE SO BAD, a LITTLE CAT SIZED DRAGON? That's a finer world than we are privy to. Where can I get a pint sized dragon? It's like Lockheed! I need this in my life right now!)
Daniel murders a dragon by an exploding cupcake, and Christians don't really want to talk about this story. If it was me? This shit would be my opening act. "I killed a dragon with a cupcake!" is a pretty compelling opening line.
(I would, however, leave out that it was a cat-sized dragon. Adorable though it may be.)
And, okay, normally this is where I'd say "I didn't make this shit up", but it turns out neither did the early Jews. This is a retelling of a story about Marduk killing a dragon. Marduk was a Babylonian god. And somehow "Marduk" got translated to "Bel" in the Jewish tradition, for reasons that I have no rational explanation for.
So, Daniel slayed Bel, who is actually named Marduk, then slayed a dragon (who used to be named Tiamat), and then stole the story of Marduk slaying Tiamat to become his own supposed origin. Jesus, religion is so fucking weird.
After that, Daniel is thrown into a lion's den for the second time. This time with a dude whose name is better than any name I'll ever come up with: "Have a cock!" It's spelled "Habbakuk" but... Say it out loud. But Daniel is an old hat at this by now, the lions don't eat him, it's all fine. Except that everyone who thought they should throw Daniel into the lion's den (again) were then murdered by lions.
This is how the story ends. Really.
To be fair, religions without dragons? They're all BULLSHIT.